The Academy of Early Music
Who are they? There's the Grail Singers, a superb a cappella women's group. There's Bethany Cencer, a splendid young harpsichordist. There's Norma Gentile, an inspiring solo soprano. But for this critic, the performer to hear will be gambist Debra Lonergan, who is playing Bach's G Major Gamba Sonata with harpsichordist Martha Folts. Not only is Folts a skilled and sympathetic harpsichordist, not only is Bach's G Major Sonata a honey of a piece with great linear melodies and sweet contrapuntal harmonies, not only is the gamba perhaps the most soulful string instrument ever created, but Lonergan herself is also a superlative player with a tremendous technique, an enormous tone, and a soul that soars when playing solo. Hearing music performed differently is one thing. Hearing it performed soulfully is something else again.
[Review published May 2006]